The third US warship to visit the Philippines in three weeks is arriving Tuesday in Subic, Zambales province, a sign of unchanged relations between the two allies despite the environmental damage caused by the grounding of a US minesweeper on the protected Tubbataha Reefs in the Sulu Sea.
The US Embassy in Manila announced Monday that the USS Stockdale, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, would dock at the former US naval base on Subic Bay off Olongapo City for a routine resupply stop and a rest and relaxation break for its crew.
The Stockdale follows the nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne that docked at Subic last week to restock and allow its crew to go on shore leave.
The minesweeper Guardian ran aground in Tubbataha while sailing for Indonesia after a port call at Puerto Princesa City early on Jan. 17.
The Guardian remains stuck on the southern atoll of Tubbataha, waiting to be broken up to save the reefs from further damage.
“Visiting Subic Bay provides us with a great opportunity to continue the long-term relationship between the Philippines and the United States and that is very important to us,” said Cmdr. Lex Walker, the Stockdale’s commanding officer.
Based in San Diego, California, the Stockdale is visiting the Philippines for the first time as part of a nine-month deployment to the Western Pacific region.
The ship will bring to the Philippines some 15 Filipino-American sailors who plan to visit their relatives here while in port, the US Embassy said.
“We have quite a few Filipino-American sailors among our crew, and I hope that the citizens of the Philippines can look at our ship and see that their people and their culture are well represented and respected in the US Navy,” Walker said.
The Stockdale’s crew will take part in community relations projects in the Philippines, including visits to orphanages, the US Embassy said.
But the embassy did not say how long the Stockdale would stay in the Philippines.
No press coverage has been arranged for the arrival of the destroyer, which is named after Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, who was the highest-ranking US naval officer to be held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.—With Fat Reyes, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 3:49 pm | Monday, February 4th, 2013